Thanks to the employees at a McDonald’s in California, one reported “abuse and human trafficking” victim is now hopefully 100 percent free of abuse in her life.
According to officers with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, the unnamed victim stepped into a McDonald’s in the town of Lodi around 2:00 pm this past Christmas Eve.
She then proceeded to ask an employee at the counter to call 911, provide the employee with the license plate of the vehicle she was driving and ask the employee to hide her.
The woman then reportedly used the restroom. But when she returned to the counter, she found the suspect, Eduardo Valenzuela, who’d reportedly been sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle, standing inside the restaurant.
He demanded she return to the car with him and use the drive-through to order food. She complied, though while in the drive-through, she reportedly mouthed the words “HELP ME” to the employees inside the restaurant.
Luckily for her, help arrived in the nick of time.
“Just then, deputies arrived and spoke with employees inside the restaurant,” the local sheriff’s office revealed in a Facebook post published two days later.
“[T]hey rushed them out the door telling them that the woman needing help was in the drive-thru line. The woman was driving her vehicle, with Mr. Valenzuela in the passenger seat when deputies ordered her to pull over.”
We are lovin’ it! McDonald’s providing a “SAFE PLACE” for abuse and human trafficking victims aids woman to be rescued….
Posted by San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, December 26, 2019
The unnamed victim chose the right place and time to finally take actions into her own hands. How so? Because an investigation by SJCSO revealed that not only had Valenzuela been violent with her in the past, but he’d threatened her life.
“During the investigation, deputies comforted the shaken woman and discovered that Valenzuela had been violent with her in the past. On this day he told her to take him to visit his family and threatened her life, stating he would use a firearm. A firearm was located in the trunk of the vehicle (stolen out of state),” the department wrote.
Valenzuela was reportedly then booked on charges of criminal threats, stolen property and illegal possession of a firearm.
Thank you, McDonald’s! And FYI, according to McDonald’s marketing manager Regina Camera, the credit goes to everybody who was on staff that day.
“They informed everyone else down the drive-thru line, and we held up actually two cars in front of that car. By holding those two cars up, it allowed us to then handle that situation, allow law enforcement to get here in a timely manner,” she said to local station KCRA.
“There’s no telling what would have happened. We don’t know if they could have made it to their family’s house in Atwater. The victim could have been possibly abused or even killed,” SJCSO Deputy Andrea Lopez added.
What remains unclear is whether the unidentified victim chose McDonald’s at random or whether she knew beforehand that it’s reportedly considered by the National Safe Place to be a designated “safe place for abuse and human trafficking victims.”
National Safe Place Network is a “national youth outreach and prevention program for young people under the age of 18 (up to 21 years of age in some communities) in need of immediate help and safety. As a collaborative community prevention initiative, Safe Place designates businesses and organizations as Safe Place locations, making help readily available to youth in communities across the country.”
The age of the victim remains unknown. It’s also not clear how the folks at a designated “Safe Place” would react to a victim over the age of 21 asking for help.
“These locations, including the McDonald’s, receive orientation and training on how to assist youth in need of help,” NBC News notes. “Sites include fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, libraries, community centers and other locations.”
It’s not clear why the network only focuses on young victims …
— QuikTrip (@QuikTrip) March 22, 2019
What’s known is that every designated safe space contains the following sign:
What’s also known is that the public’s glad that McDonald’s participates in this program.
— stacy sosebee-west (@sosebeewest) December 28, 2019
— Coach Frank Fascia (@BallMechanic) December 28, 2019
— shanin molinaro (@RockPaperGold) December 28, 2019
— Johnny Grunas ???? ジョニー・グラナズ (@PJpremiere) December 28, 2019
— cmtjbc (@cmtjbc) December 27, 2019
But as usual, there are some deranged haters … of the left-wing persuasion:
Sounds like this McDonalds has some great employees. Too bad McDonalds doesn’t pay them a living wage. McDonalds employees are also saying “Help me.”
— Dungfaced (@dungfaced) December 28, 2019
It sounds like he needs his own safe space …
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